Murry Bergtraum High School
|Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers|
|411 Pearl Street
New York City, New York
|Type||Public High School|
|School board||New York City Public Schools|
|School district||2 (Geographic and Administrative)|
Ms. Lottie Almonte
|Number of students||2,589|
|Color(s)||Red & Gold|
|Nickname||Bergtraum; MBHS; Murry B|
The Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers is a public secondary school in New York City. It is located in Lower Manhattan, adjacent to the Brooklyn Bridge and City Hall. Bergtraum offers business-oriented courses to prepare students for careers in marketing, tourism, finance, human resources, information systems, economics, computer science, law, and secretarial fields. The school also combines its business curriculum with an academic program that gears towards preparation for college. In recent years, the school has been integrating more humanities and liberal arts courses to enrich the school's curriculum.
Murry Bergtraum High School was one of the first business-themed high schools in New York City, and inclusively, the United States. It has two sister schools that share its business theme: Norman Thomas High School (previously known as Central Commercial High School) and the High School of Economics and Finance. Out of the three schools, Murry Bergtraum is the largest of all the business high schools in this category and in the city due to its large, diverse business programs and course offerings.
Students in virtual enterprise classes have formed two companies in insurance and publishing. Other students get retail experience in a school store funded by Ronald Lauder, head of Estée Lauder. The goal of former Principal Grace Julian was to have every student have a mentor from a corporation such as Estée Lauder for at least part of their high school career. Students and alumni often refer to themselves as "Bergtraumites."
It remains as one of the few large high schools in New York City as a result of Michael Bloomberg's small-school restructuring projects. It was also exempted from chancellor Joel Klein's citywide uniform curriculum initiated in 2003.
- 1 Historical Context
- 2 Overview
- 3 Principals
- 4 Goals
- 5 School Facilities
- 6 Student body
- 7 Academics
- 8 Business Programs
- 9 Majors
- 10 Graduation requirements
- 11 September 11, 2001
- 12 Reforms
- 13 Courses and Programs
- 14 Alma mater
- 15 Partnerships
- 16 Extracurricular Activities
- 17 PSAL Sports Teams
- 18 Awards and recognition
- 19 Popular culture
- 20 Dress for Success
- 21 Notable alumni
- 22 Notable faculty
- 23 Related links
- 24 Department links
- 25 References
- 26 External links
The History of Murry Bergtraum High School dates back to the Thanksgiving of 1916, the birthdate of namesake Murry Bergtraum. Murry Bergtraum High School was established in 1975, in memory of Murry Bergtraum, a former President of the New York City Board of Education who died in 1974. Bergtraum joined the Board of Education on May 20, 1969. He was then elected Vice President of the Board of Education from July 1, 1970 to June 30, 1971. His widow Edith Katz Bergtraum, a public school teacher, was also politically active and a member of her local school board for 19 years. After her death in 1994, an elementary school in Queens (PS 165 in District 25) was renamed in her memory. The name "Bergtraum" originates from the German language. In the English language, it translates to "mountain dream."
Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers was still under construction in 1975 while the first class of freshmen were attending classes at Pace University awaiting the completion of the new high school. While at the Pace campus, an art instructor held a school logo contest. Many designs were submitted by the students. Ultimately the winner chosen by the staff was a student named Norberto Feliciano. The winning school emblem is circular in design with a triangle in the center that represents the schools aerial view shape. The name of the school is within double circles, and the school initials placed within the triangle. Olive branches were placed within the logo as a sign of peace as also seen in the flag of the United Nations. The logo is used on letter heads, notebooks, t-shirts, sweatshirts, shorts, team uniforms, and other school-branded items.
Bergtraum was the first academic comprehensive high school with business majors in New York City and one of the first in the United States. It was supported by the Downtown Lower Manhattan Association to prepare young people to enter the world of work and college.
Historically, there has been an average of over 3,000 students at Bergtraum during a given year, and it has been ranked as a "School of Excellence" by U.S. News & World Report since 1999. It is well known for its girls' basketball team, having won thirteen consecutive PSAL championships as of 2011. Bergtraum offers majors in business that attracts students from all boroughs; receiving an average of 15,000 to 20,000 applications every year, making it one of the most popular schools in the city of New York. As an educational option school, it takes in students from all academic levels.
The school population is structured as follows:
- 16% of the school is formed of students who are high performers.
- 68% of the school is formed of students who are average performers.
- 16% of the school is formed of students who are low performers.
Bergtraum has also been known for its unusual triangular shape, which leads to only half of the school building having windows. The exterior sides of the building have windows, while the interior portion of the building does not. Despite the design of the building, it stays very warm in the winter and very cool during the summer because of its centralized air-conditioning system.
As of spring 2007, the school would follow a 1-8 schedule, eliminating the 3-10 and leaving very few students with a 2-9 schedule.
As of September 2009, the school began to decrease its enrollment numbers to alleviate the overcrowding rate the school faced. The school's enrollment has dropped significantly from September, 2005 in which it had roughly 3,000 students enrolled. As of July 2009, that number has gone down to 2,589.
In its 36-year history, Bergtraum has had seven principals: Dr. Barbara Christen, Elsie Chan, Grace Julian, Barbara Esmilla who retired in June 2010, Dr. Andrea D. Lewis who was removed in August 2012, Lottie Almonte who was removed in August 2014 and Naima Cook at present.
Bergtraum has eight business majors, and also allows students to take Career and Technical Education examinations, such as the Microsoft Office Specialist examination. In the accounting major, students who take the Advanced Accounting course can take an exam to obtain Certified Public Accountant qualifications. Bergtraum requires its students have a minimum of 12 business credits upon graduation.
Murry Bergtraum provides its students with what is called "dual preparation". Working in close collaboration with colleges, businesses and industries, Bergtraum offers an academic program which is integrated with skills, knowledge and career preparation. Students at Bergtraum may also be eligible for state-approved and industry-sponsored career and technical education endorsements.
Murry Bergtraum's facilities include:
A. Three Gymnasiums. Two are on the same floor, but offer different electives. This two-in-one gym was constructed to accommodate freshmen and sophomores. The third gym, for juniors, is located on the sixth floor, and focuses on cardiovascular exercise and dance.
C. A library. The Bergtraum library hosts internet service, as well as books, references, and career resources.
D. Computer laboratories. These rooms were once typewriting rooms; the old outlets on the floor mark the school's history.
Murry Bergtraum has 2,589 students and a diverse student body. Historically, Bergtraum's programs have catered to minority students, and the trend has not changed much since the school's opening. The ethnic composition is as follows:
- American Indian: 0.08%
- Asian American/Pacific Islander: 14.79%
- Hispanic: 49.98%
- African American: 32.60%
- White American: 2.47%
- Students Not Reported: 0.08%
Bergtraum has had more females than males in previous years. As of the 2009-2010 school year, 50.83% of Bergtraum students are female and 49.17% of Bergtraum students are male.
Bergtraum has more business courses with more majors than all of the Manhattan business-themed high schools combined. Bergtraum and Norman Thomas High School are the only schools in Manhattan that allow students to concentrate with one major. Students not only choose the business area they wish to concentrate on, but students also face academic rigor in their regular New York State mandated education requirements. Students are allowed to have the standard 65 passing grade, but are encouraged to have an 80+ average. In an interview in Bergtraum's newspaper, The Bergtraum Voice, Claire Panazzolo, an Ex-Assistant Principal of Business, stated that she "wanted Bergtraum to be the Stuyvesant of business".
The graduating class of 2006 was accepted to 85 different colleges and universities across the country, including schools of Ivy League caliber. Popular colleges and universities include: University at Albany, Binghamton University, Hunter College, Baruch College, Stony Brook University, Syracuse University and the University of Hartford.
Bergtraum students acquire the skills to work in a business-like atmosphere. Bergtraum is divided into 8 houses, each house representing a specific major. Students in each house, or department, study in their major for their 4 years in high school. In addition, each student must obtain a minimum of 44-50 credits in order to graduate, regardless of house. In each department, all students are mandated to take a keyboarding/business career exploration course for one year, or two semesters/terms.
Majors at Bergtraum were once known and categorized by "Houses". However, as the school began its year of reformation, these houses were renamed to "Academies" as of September 2006. Students of the Graduating Class of 2009 will be the last graduating class to be known and categorized by individual "Houses". These new academies would have directors that would oversee the academic and social activity of students.
Economics and Finance
At Bergtraum, students in this major are known as "Academy E" Students.
At Bergtraum, students in this major are known as "Academy A" Students.
In the Accounting major, students learn basic to complex accounting. This program mocks the previous stenography major that taught all types of stenography such as Gregg Stenography, Alpha Stenography, etc.
The director of the Accounting Academy is currently Barbara Cortez.
Human Resources Management
At Bergtraum, students in this major are known as "Academy H" Students.
In the Administrative Assistant Technology major, students are introduced to Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certifications in Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Access programs, notetaking (Shorthand), business English, internet, business analysis, and business protocols.
The director of the Academy of Human Resources Management is currently Renato da Silva.
At Bergtraum, students in this major are known as "Academy F" Students.
The director of the Information Systems Academy is currently Anita Bonner.
Global Marketing Travel, Tourism and Hospitality
At Bergtraum, students in this major are known as "Academy W" Students.
In the Travel and Tourism major, students are introduced to geography, computer systems, job shadowing, paid summer internships, and participate in the virtual enterprise program. This course is tied with the previous "L House" in order to make room for "Academy G"
As of September 2010, the director of this academy is Ms. Ammatuna.
At Bergtraum, students in this major are known as "Academy C" Students.
The director of the Computer Science Institute is currently Anna Kavrakis.
At Bergtraum, students in this major are known as "Academy L" Students.
In the Legal Studies major, students are introduced to business law, trial procedures, general law, basic law of contracts, real estate law, urban planning, constitutional law, and participate in courthouse visits.
The director of the Legal Studies Academy is currently Renato Da Silva.
Marketing, Introduction to Business
At Bergtraum, students in this major are known as "Academy M" Students.
In the Marketing major, students are introduced to the principles of marketing and advertising, retailing, insurance, business law, business computer operations, sports marketing, and participate in the Estée Lauder retail academy. This major is tied along with the previous L and M houses. Both houses now contain the same conjunct courses.
The director of the Marketing Academy is currently Mark Malkonian.
Communications/Instructional Support/Special Education
At Bergtraum, students in this major are known as "I, O, or Z Academy" Students.
Students in this house must follow procedures according to their respective major, however their classes are taught differently from regular education students.
The director of these departments currently is Tessa Austin
Murry Bergtraum High School students face the same requirements as all students in New York City do. A minimum of 50-54 credits is required to graduate from Bergtraum, however, most of the students graduate with as many as 60 credits. Students are required to study:
- 4 years of English, and take the English Language Regents examination at the end of their Junior year.
- 3 years of Mathematics, and take the Math A and Math B Regents exam, or can substitute specific courses to earn the credits for Math B.
- 4 years of historical studies, including Global History and American History. Regents exams are taken when the student finishes each course.
- 3 years of a foreign language. Languages offered include Chinese(Level 3 and 4 only), French, and Spanish.
- 3 years of science. Regents courses are available for Living Environment Biology, Earth Science, Chemistry, and Physics. Marine Biology is available as an optional course, however no Regents exam is offered. Students must complete at least 2 Regents exams if offered Marine Biology in their freshman year. (In order to qualify for a Regents exam, students must complete 30 hours of laboratory instruction.)
- 4 years of business study. Passing all business courses is mandated in order to graduate with the Bergtraum seal. Specific business courses will depend on the department the student is in.
- Half a year of Musical Instruction/Appreciation.
- Half a year of Art Instruction/Appreciation.
- Half a year of an Internship based class. Internship classes are held in the school.
- Work-Based Business Credit. Students who work a specific amount of hours each Semester qualify to receive an elective business credit.
September 11, 2001
Murry Bergtraum High School, along with other high schools of the Lower Manhattan area were the first schools evacuated when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Although Bergtraum is located in the Lower East Side section of Manhattan, the school administration ordered an immediate evacuation of the building. The building was evacuated in three minutes. It was the first high school in New York City that had successful evacuation of students.
The school was labeled as a "Ground Zero" school (by the NYFD)--students were relocated to the High School of Art and Design in Upper Manhattan. The Bergtraum administration were unhappy with the relocation and appealed it, and their building was re-opened and students resumed their studies within a few days.
Bergtraum began to face new ideas of reform during the Spring Term of the 2005-2006 academic school year. Due to certain measures to improve not only performance, but also student morale, new measures and new plans began to be introduced by the Principal, and the School Leadership Team. Certain reforms include:
A. The attempt to restore the Bergtraum building after 31 years of establishment.
B. A sharp decrease in the amount of students admitted into the school. Incoming freshmen classes averaged to about 900 to 1000 students. As of August 2007[update], that number is down to approximately 800. The school currently faces a 131% overcrowding rate—that is, there are 36% more students than the building was designed to accommodate.
C. The introduction of a new dress code to bring a more professional environment to the school. Students now follow a mandatory "dress for success" every Wednesday. The school uniform policy has been discontinued.
Courses and Programs
Bergtraum offers many courses to its students, including:
- The Virtual Enterprise Initiative
- The RoadsToRiches EntrepreneurNow Program
- CollegeNow Program 
- Microsoft IT Challenge - Took 1st Place 2006 (First NY Win)
- College Extension Program
- Academy of Travel and Tourism
Advanced Placement Courses
Advanced Placement courses, which are eligible for college credit, include Calculus AB, English Language and English Literature, Environmental Science, Accounting, United States History, and World History.
Non-Advanced Placement Elective Courses
Bergtraum has many elective courses for students to take that tend to be more advanced in their curriculum and more rigorous in their nature:
- Analytical Literature
- Intermediate Algebra
- 11th Year Mathematics
- 12th Year Mathematics
- Advanced Physics
- Advertising Art
- Advanced Foreign Language Classes for Native Speakers/Beginners
- Tech Prep
- Sophomore English Honors
- College Accounting
- Python 3
- Senior English Honors Fusion
- Business Communications
- Conflict Mediation with Carolyn Djokoto
The school has its own song that is, by tradition, sung at the commencement exercises every June. The song was composed by retired music teacher, J.A. Negri. Negri retired in 2007 after many years of working as a music teacher at the school.
Bergtraum has many sponsors, especially in the corporate field, including:
- Estée Lauder
- Royal & Sun Alliance
- Lehman Brothers
- Bear Stearns
- American Express
- JP Morgan Chase
- Time Warner Cable
- New York Urban League
- Futures & Options
- Financial Women's Association
- St. John's University
- Baruch College
- Hunter College
- The New York University.
- The YWCA
- Downtown Beekman Hospital
- The Hispanic Federation of New York
- Pace University
- Fordham University
- Katharine Gibbs School
- Manhattan Theater Club
- Atlantic Theater Company
- Roundabout Theatre Company
- Lincoln Center Theater
- Guardian Life Insurance
- Institute for Student Achievement
Bergtraum has many activities for students to participate in. Such activities include the Student Government/Union, Senior Council, Council For Unity, internships on and off site, and more. Academic teams and groups include Math Team, Mock Trial, Moot Court and the National Honor Society. Other clubs include: The Black Student Union, Salsa Club, Chinese Christian Society, Christian Society, Ambassadors Club, Model UN, Chinese Talent Society, West Indian Club, The Political Action Committee and the Asian Club.
PSAL Sports Teams
The school participates in the Public Schools Athletic League. The Bergtraum Lady Blazers are the second best girls' basketball team in the entire country, and the reigning thirteen-time city champion. Bergtraum also has other sports teams, including basketball, bowling, cross country, handball, tennis, indoor and outdoor track, volleyball, softball, baseball, soccer, and wrestling.
Awards and recognition
Besides being ranked "A School Of Excellence" by U.S. News & World Report, Bergtraum has won countless awards in the sports area, The Kurt Thomas Investment Challenge, the ThinkQuest Awards,[dead link] and the Lincoln-Douglas Debates.
ThinkQuest NYC Award winning teams, led by Ms. D'Amato, Ms Ashley & Tony Cai:
- 2006 2nd Place - Catalyst A Literary Magazine[dead link]
- 2005 1st Place - The Shrouded World After 9/11[dead link]
- 2005 2nd Place - Shakespeare on the Hudson[dead link]
- 2005 3rd Place - A Literary Odyssey From Homer to James Joyce[dead link]
- 2004 1st Place - Regents Preparation Handbook[dead link]
- 2003 1st Place - Using the Conflict Resolution Approach to Analyze Literature[dead link]
- The Xbox 360 games Project Gotham Racing 3 and Project Gotham Racing 4 show the award winning and unique design of MBHS in many scenarios.
Dress for Success
Dress for Success days are a long-time tradition started in business high schools. This provides the opportunity for students, including those of Bergtraum; to dress in business attire. The original philosophy was to have students dress appropriately for school, but over the span of 31 years, business collaboratives expressed interest in hiring students fresh out of high school. Meaning that "Dress for Success" at Bergtraum was also created to prepare students for the demands of the workforce, and in turn, students are approached and offered internships with business collaboratives or with alumni who run their own businesses.
As of August 2007, the Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers has made dressing for success a mandatory event.
- Vanessa Gibson, New York State legislator
- John Leguizamo, actor and comedian
- Caridad de la Luz, poet and actress
- Damon Wayans, actor and comedian
- Miguel Morales, 1st season of Top Chef
- Epiphanny Prince, WNBA Chicago Sky player
- Shannon Bobbitt, WNBA Los Angeles Sparks player
- Jimmy Cozier, American R&B singer
- Q-Tip (musician), rapper and actor
- Jason Innocent, Athletics
- Noreen Begley was the first woman in 1992 to coach boys basketball when she coached the Blazers to the finals in what was known during as the "B division."
- Ed Berg, former faculty member, was the chairman of Social Science department and best remembered for having taught Advanced Placement Economics competitively by expunging the students midyear who were performing on the lower half of the class curve.
- John Elfrank-Dana, a social studies teacher and UFT Chapter Leader, is a Carnegie Scholar and has won numerous national awards.
- Irene Gianacoplos is the last coordinator and one of the few shorthand supporters/instructors in the Public Education system.
- Mary DiServio was the only member of the school faculty that was a certified Microsoft Office Specialist and Expert in Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Powerpoint, and Microsoft Access. DiServio officially retired in June, 2009.
- Alex McDonald, an English teacher, is a musician. Known as Paranoid Larry, he has his own record label.
- Ted Nellen, an English teacher, and "Cybrarian". Was an early pioneer in use of the Internet in the classroom and was the school's first webmaster. Ran the one if NYC's first Internet connected networks in a public school.
- Philip Panaritis, a social studies teacher. Noted for being a master teacher and grant-writer. He served as Project Director Teaching American History where he inspired may social studies teachers. Tahgrant.net. Currently, he is Director of Social Studies for the NYC Department of Education.
- Carolyn Powell, Ph.D, known to some as the successor of Ed Berg. Powell was nominated and entrusted with the position of college advisor in June, 2009.
- Henri Solganik, taught French to some of Bergtraum's first graduates.
- NYCBOE.NET Murry Bergtraum for Business Careers
- Insideschools.org Profile of Murry Bergtraum
- Progressive Student Political Action Club
- Council For Unity/Student Government Website
- Murry Bergtraum Teachers Online
- MBHS Alumni Organization
- New York State Education Department
- Building profile at PropertyShark.
- Computer Science Department Website
- College Office & Career Center Website
- Bergtraum Voice Online Newspaper
- Physical and Health Education Department Website
- Tutoring Schedule
- Murry Bergtraum School Library Website
- Mathematics Department Website
- Science Department Website
- Security & Dean Department Website
- Social Studies Department Website
- PSAT Letter
- Welcome - Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers - M520 - New York City Department of Education. Schools.nyc.gov (2012-01-11). Retrieved on 2013-10-05.
- Bergtraum's PSAL Profile
- Inside School's Profile of Murry Bergtraum
- Financial Women's Association Committees - Mentoring. Fwa.org. Retrieved on 2013-10-05.
- [dead link]
- Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers, M520, Borough of Manhattan, Zip Code 10038
- School Review
- Murry Bergtraum Wins Record 13th girls 'AA' Title at the Garden
- High School Selection Methods - Admissions Process
- Listing of Career and Technical Education Programs of - New York City
- https://professionals.collegeboard.com/k-12/assessment/clep/success [CLEP - Success Stories]
- Physical Education Department Summaries
- Black Enterprise - Google Books
- Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers' Student Register
- Bergtraum's College Now
- Downloadable Copy of Bergtraum is the Place, Murry Bergtraum's Alma Mater Song.
- Murry Bergtraum School Directory Program Page
- Curriculum Vitae. Elfrank. Retrieved on 2013-10-05.
- paranoid larry. paranoid larry (2010-04-25). Retrieved on 2013-10-05.
- WEDDINGS;Shirley Jung, Alex S. McDonald - New York Times. Nytimes.com (1995-06-04). Retrieved on 2013-10-05.
- The Nellen Family Jewels. Tnellen.com. Retrieved on 2013-10-05.
- Teaching American History - Home
- Quotations related to Murry Bergtraum High School at Wikiquote